2017 could become a landmark year for efforts to put the world’s oceans on a pathway towards sustainability. Complemented by numerous regional and national initiatives, the UN Ocean Conference in June and the EU-hosted Our Ocean Conference in October are important opportunities for the international com- munity to establish a firm foundation for future action and to agree on tangible measures to reverse the cycle of declining ocean health. While there is no lack in glo- bal ambition, the global community should now agree on concrete steps to develop coherent regional and in- ternational implementation frameworks for achieving oceans sustainability. To advance these efforts, this policy brief offers three key recommendations:
- Message 1: Develop a registry of ocean commitments. - The establishment of effective reporting procedures is crucial to achieving the Goal for the Oceans. A central registry of ocean commitments would provide a transparent basis for tracking the efforts of States and stakeholders to achieve the Goal for the Oceans and a repository of lessons learned.
- Message 2: Establish regional partnerships for sustainable oceans. - Ocean sustainability challenges require collective action across sectors and scales. In an effort to coordinate policymaking and measures, regional ocean partnerships should be developed to support activities related to the implementation of the Goal for the Oceans.
- Message 3: Prepare a global thematic review for the oceans. - States should review the implementation of SDG 14 and other ocean-related goals through an integrated thematic assess- ment. This review would provide the basis for future proposals and action as well as insights into interdependencies and trade-offs across the 2030 Agenda.
*This policy brief draws on contributions to the 2016 Potsdam Ocean Governance Workshop “Sustainable Development Goals for the Ocean: Turning Commitment into Action” and research by the Institute for Advanced Sustainability Studies (IASS), the Institute for Sustainable Development and International Relations (IDDRI),
and TMG – ThinkTank for Sustainability.